Since age 8, he’s been helping his community eat happy!

Grocery store manager brings his passion for food and community to Parksville

Bill Rutledge, store manager at Thrifty Foods Parksville. Shop local seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Bill Rutledge, store manager at Thrifty Foods Parksville. Shop local seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Bill Rutledge knows a thing or two about running a grocery store — he’s been working in them since he was about eight years old.

“My dad was a produce manager and store manager for many years, so I grew up with it,” says Rutledge, who joined Thrifty Foods in 1997 and has been store manager of Thrifty Foods Parksville since 2014. What keeps him motivated after so many years in the industry? “My team and my community. I have a passion for food, and am always looking for ways to bring a smile to someone’s face.”

Community first

Thrifty Foods takes social responsibility seriously, and for Rutledge that means contributing to charities, supporting local farmers and adapting services to serve Parksville’s unique population.

“We want the community to thrive — and that means every part of the community. Anything we can get involved with to help people stay in the community, to help keep that community feel, we’ll be there,” Rutledge says.

Thrifty Foods Parksville works with the Rotary Club to feed local families through the District 69 Backpack Program, and donates to local food banks through the Food Rescue Project. They also support Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Tour de Rock, the Lions Club, and celebrate Canada Day alongside the Chamber of Commerce with acrobatic displays from the Buggy Drill Team.

When the pandemic hit last year, Rutledge had daily conference calls with other store managers to share best practices, and adapted on the fly to meet the needs of his local customers and staff.

“Every store is built differently and has different needs,” Rutledge says. “We continue to work within public health guidelines and adapt to keep our customers and staff safe.”

That flexibility applies to what’s on the shelves, too. The products you’ll find at Thrifty Foods Parksville are selected by Rutledge and his team with locals in mind.

“We always pick Island products first, then BC producers,” Rutledge says. “We work closely with local farmers from Errington to Port Alberni to Qualicum Beach. In the summer, our Silver Meadows Farm corn is picked in the morning and in the store an hour later.”

Shop local

For in-store baked cheesecakes and bread, a fresh seafood counter with excellent selection, and a dedicated staff with decades of experience, visit Thrifty Foods in Parksville at 280 East Island Highway!

  • Store hours: 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Home delivery: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
  • Curb-side pickup: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
  • In-store Pharmacy: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends